How to grow Your Followers (and Fans) on social media
Social media can tick a multitude of business boxes, from customer engagement to establishing brand credibility, building a business community, and converting prospective buyers into customers.
But while it provides a host of benefits, social media is a marketing tool that should not be confused for an entire strategy - a sticking point for far too many businesses, who are consistently funnelling all their energy (and sometimes budget) into claiming followers who do very little for the success of their brand. Does that sound familiar?
Here are a few tips on how to How to Grow Your Followers (and Fans) on social media more effectively, to support the online presence of your brand without taking away from your core customer journey.
Know that social media is NOT the be all and end all
Sure, growing your following is great. But business is not ALL about social media.
In fact, the relevance of social media and its multitude of platforms depends almost entirely on your target audience and who you are looking to sell to - with some businesses finding that social media does very little except support their SEO strategy.
Before you jump in with a series of actions to boost your following, create a plan which outlines the platforms you are focussing on and why.
You can do this by working out who your ideal customer is and where they hang out online (I recommend doing this through competitor research and experimentation!)
There is nothing more damaging to a social media strategy than sporadic posting.
People need to be able to see that your account is active - it will establish trust in your brand and help you keep conversations with your customers flowing.
If consistent and regular posting feels a bit overwhelming, check out the plethora of scheduling tools available online, and look at the value of curated vs. created content - using the words and thoughts of others but framed into your own commentary, as well as your own unique content.
Earn - don’t BUY - followers
Did you know that buying followers has become a business in itself?
Let’s be honest, the number of followers may look impressive but if those individuals aren’t there because they support your brand (or, even worse, are made up of fake accounts), then they’re not only pointless but could damage your credibility and reliability in the eyes of real customers.
Earning followers takes time and engagement, but trust me when I say it’ll help you garner a lot more long term success than trading a few pounds in for a collection of fake and uninterested accounts.
Not every social media should be sales-y.
In fact, some of the best social media profiles for businesses don’t talk business at all - rather they use the platform as a way of conversing with and getting to know their audience.
Some of the most valuable content you can provide which will pique the interest of followers includes behind the scenes pictures and videos from your office or headquarters, fun facts about the team and about your brand, industry news, and inspiration and testimonials from other customers.
Don’t forget to engage!
Social media isn’t just about follower figures - it’s also about likes, comments, direct messages, and so much more.
The fact is that once you open your brand out to different social media platforms, your followers will use these outlets as a way of trying to contact you - and you need to be there to respond (yes, even to any negative comments you may get!)
Know the platforms and use them to their full extent
Different social media platforms work in different ways - and in order to maximise your following and engagement, you should use them to their full extent.
Consider the value of stories on Facebook and Instagram as well as regular posts; connect with other local businesses and brands on Twitter; find out if like minded professionals in your industry are on LinkedIn; use the search function on Instagram to establish your core brand hashtags.
The options are endless!
Not sure which platform is best for your business?
Have a read of this: Are you using the 'right' social network for your business?
Hashtags are crucial for increasing your social media exposure, because they bring people searching for your terms directly to your posts and your page.
The best approach to hashtags is to select a few go-to terms which link to your brand/product directly, and a few which are more generic in your field of expertise and use them to entice the widest possible audience towards your content.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Social media is changing all the time - with new platforms (hello TikTok!) rising to centrestage all the time.
Adapting to the everchanging social market can be difficult but that’s where content and digital professionals come in - helping you create the perfect strategy to optimise your online presence and turn a few followers into an army of potential customers.
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